A MAJOR investment in specialist facilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has been given the go-ahead.

Northumberland College has been given permission to extend one of the buildings at its Kirkley Hall campus, near Ponteland, by transforming it into a learning environment for SEND students aged between 16 and 24.

Planning permission for the extension was recently granted by Northumberland County Council, and building working was due to begin imminently.

Nigel Harrett, the principal of Northumberland College, said: “We have high ambitions and aspirations for all of our students at Northumberland College.

“With our new facilities, those with special educational needs and disabilities will be individually supported through a revised and innovative curriculum, with tailored support, to achieve their ambitions and develop the skills to work inclusively at the college and in the wider community. Students will benefit from our purpose-built SEND centre, which will cater for their needs whilst promoting inclusion in a wider college environment and a career-focused enrichment programme in land-based vocations.

“This is an exciting development for all of our current students with special needs and disabilities, as well as prospective students across Northumberland, their parents, carers and wider support network.”

The specialist facilities and resources will aim to create a safe and positive environment and are designed to nurture individual talents and skills.

The project will include adaptable classrooms with access to specialist computer software and specialist technology, a sensory experience learning room, a low sensory quiet room, an independent living skills kitchen and a sensory garden.